Blue Skies and Blackwater...

...well, the skies were blue but the water isn't so black this time of year. More of a sort of dull blah. No matter the color of the water, yesterday was absolutely beautiful with highs in the upper 50s to low 60s. We loaded up the canoe and headed out just before lunch time. The pond covers a little less than 800 acres and offers lots of nooks and crannies to explore. We had no real destination or purpose other than to piddle (paddle?) and do a little casual birding. By the end of the day we had paddled the pond and a good bit of the swamp above it.

Our birding yielded 46 species, not great but not bad either. Two pairs of red-shouldered hawks were disputing territory on the lower pond and they put on a fine aerial display. One of the pairs took time out to do a little mating in a tupelo gum and then rejoined the fray -- hawk sex doesn't take long. Other notable sightings included an immature and an adult bald eagle flying over one after the other, a couple of very cute little brown creepers, and about 200 ring-necked ducks coming off the upper pond.

But birds weren't our only company during our paddle. We got to see an otter playing with a fish he had caught. The otter was having a fine time, the fish wasn't. A total of four otters let themselves be seen. They tend to be very curious and came in fairly close to get a look at us. Not close enough to get a decent picture, but close enough for us to get a good look. Beaver also entertained us as we paddled along. Two got a little upset and swam around slapping their tails against the water. The best beaver moment, however, was when we paddled up to a lodge and heard the beaver inside. They make a sort of mewling, grunting sound. In late March and early April you can hear the babies inside the lodges.

We came off the pond about 6 p.m. -- a day well spent. I hope you have a place that you love as much as we love this place.

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